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Despite crypto's problems, everyday Americans show little sign of abandoning digital assets, new data shows.
Crypto ownership and interest in different digital assets are on the rise, according to the latest annual Crypto Literacy Survey from the industry education initiative CryptoLiteracy.org. The diversity of individual holdings increased 30% in the last year: Slightly more than half of cryptocurrency owners hold between two and five different kinds of cryptos, and 31% own at least six.
The report is based on an online survey conducted in October of 1,000 Americans regarding general knowledge and sentiments around crypto and other digital assets.
Crypto investors have had a tumultuous few years. Digital assets soared in popularity during the pandemic, but their prices have struggled in 2022 alongside those of more traditional assets like stocks and bonds. Bitcoin, the largest crypto by market value, hit a high of nearly $69,000 per coin in November of 2021. Since then, its price has tumbled to around $16,000 amid rising interest rates and increased skepticism about the industry.
But the report, which was conducted for a crypto literacy initiative led by the crypto exchange Coinme, suggests that despite the risks, crypto adoption among U.S. investors isn’t going anywhere. Nearly a third of Americans now hold investments in crypto, according to the study, with ownership in the U.S. reportedly spiking from 17% in 2021 to 32% this year. (It’s important to note that reports on how many people own crypto vary, with this number being on the high side. For example, in March an NBC News poll found one in five Americans had invested in, traded or used crypto and in April Insider Intelligence reported that 12.8% of the U.S. population will own crypto by the end of the year.)
Crypto ownership and sentiment
Interest in buying crypto doesn't appear to be fading. The survey found 36% of respondents said they intend to purchase crypto in the next six months, with the biggest use case being saving for the future.
“Consumers are becoming more interested in learning about crypto and, therefore, more crypto literate and likely to make the right decisions to improve their personal outcome," Neil Bergquist, CEO and co-founder of Coinme, said in a news release accompanying the report.
Less than a quarter of respondents said they think crypto is untrustworthy, and 39% have a positive opinion of the industry. The positive sentiment flies in the face of a year of volatility in the crypto industry, including scams and the complete collapse of services thought to be stable. The report notes that while investing in certain cryptos can pay off in terms of return on investment, it’s still a high-risk decision.
Digital asset divide
The survey data reveals an age, income and gender divide in who owns crypto and other digital assets. Some in the crypto and financial tech industry claim digital assets will lead to a future of equitable access, but upper-income Americans and men still maintain ownership and control in a growing digital financial landscape, according to the report.
Sixty-three percent of respondents with incomes of at least $150,000 a year said they owned crypto, while less than half (40%) of middle-income earners ($50,000-149,900 a year) said the same. Only 14% of Americans making less than $50,000 said they own crypto. Ownership is still mostly male — 46% of men and a mere 18% of women said they own crypto.
Men also hold more diverse investments and show greater intent to purchase crypto, with 72% saying they plan to buy digital assets in the next six months compared to 28% of women.
In terms of generational trends in ownership, millennials dominate the crypto playing field. The majority (54%) of millennial respondents said they own crypto, and 53% said they own between two and five different cryptos. They were also more likely to view crypto as trustworthy and a legitimate alternative to traditional currencies that can be used for payments, savings, gifting and charity.
Baby boomers, on the other hand, aren’t hopping on the crypto bandwagon. Although nearly half hold stocks, only 8% said they own digital assets. Roughly the same percentage expressed plans to purchase crypto in the near future.